Many Central Ohio Schools Do Well in State Education Department Ratings

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New rankings show more Ohio school districts are rated effective or higher. However, the annual grade cards released Tuesday also show the statewide graduation rate fell to 84.6 percent. Many Central Ohio school districts fared well in the ratings.

According to the academic performance report card of Ohio public schools, many of the districts in suburban Columbus are rated A or A+. They include Hilliard, Westerville, Bexley, Dublin and Worthington. Columbus City Schools, however, received a C or Continuous Improvement rating as did South-Western City Schools. Only one Central Ohio district fared worse: Whitehall City Schools received a D.

Kim Norris, spokeswoman for the Columbus school system, acknowledged that there’s work to be done. But she says this is the third year that Columbus Schools have received a Continuous Improvement rating. She says that attendance and academic achievement are improving.

“Our attendance for Columbus City Schools is at 94.3 percent,” Norris says. “That’s the highest [we've] ever achieved on the state report card so attendance is good. In terms of academic performance it continues to trend upward.”

Norris says she thinks the public’s perception of the school system is positive. She says that’s evident when people go to the polls to vote for tax levies.

“The Columbus community continues to support the district because there is a demonstrated academic improvement each year,” she says.

On the other hand, levies for the South-Western City Schools have been turned down time and time again. But in Westerville where the schools were rated A, administrators hope to use that Excellent rating as further evidence that a levy request is justified. Westerville City Schools spokesman Greg Viebranz says the district is going to the polls this November with an operating levy request. “…and that request is simply to maintain the programming that we have,” Viebranz says. “It’s not for expansion and the fact that we have been able to build a program that earns an excellent rating we hope that our residents will see this as a positive attribute of the district and will show their support for continuing excellence in our schools at the polls this November.”